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Brad Bird explains why he passed on directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

05.20.2015

For many, the chance to direct a Star Wars film wouldn't be something you'd turn down, but unfortunately that's just what TOMORROWLAND director Brad Bird had to do. Back before J.J. Abrams took the helm of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Brad Bird had been offered the gig but realized that he had to turn it down in order to focus on TOMORROWLAND.

Brad Bird spoke with Yahoo about his choice to turn down what may be the biggest film of the year:

It absolutely was [a tough decision], but there was no way to do that film without junking this film, and we had already gotten George Clooney involved and I was excited about this film. I understand they had to get [The Force Awakens] made, and they would’ve had to push it in order for me to do it.

During an interview with IGN, Bird elaborated on those comments, saying that while STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS would have gotten made whether or not he was involved, TOMORROWLAND may not have.

I love Star Wars, but Star Wars is going to get made whether I do it or not. They are not going to delay Star Wars in order for me to do Tomorrowland. [In terms of] Tomorrowland, you know momentum is fragile. And we need momentum. There was a lot of momentum on Tomorrowland and I really loved what the movie was. And I thought there's a chance that Tomorrowland wont get made, simply because it loses its momentum. A movie is a weird thing. It's not a tangible thing. You have this wispy cloud that you're trying to solidify and I thought that it deserved to be made. You know, Star Wars is a very robust thing right now and it's going to be fine.

Bird is right of course, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS got made without him and seems to be in good hands with J.J. Abrams and personally I'm glad we get to see Brad Bird tackle an original property rather than a sequel of an established franchise. Upon finding out that Brad Bird had been offered the job, TOMORROWLAND screenwriter Damon Lindelof said that he had fully expected Bird to jump ship:

Yeah, I thought you were gonzo. They'd just offered Brad Star Wars and we were about six weeks out [from production on Tomorrowland] and were scouting in Florida, and I looked down at my phone and it was your smiley face and I was like, 'He's about to bounce.' And you didn't.

With Josh Trank's recent exit from the second Star Wars Anthology film, the possibility of Brad Bird taking his place was brought up, however Bird was quick to squash that possibility saying that "right now I’m writing Incredibles 2, so I’ve got my hands full."

TOMORROWLAND opens on May 22, 2015 and you can read our own Eric Walkuski's review of the film right here.

Would you rather have seen Brad Bird take on STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS over TOMORROWLAND?

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Source: YahooIGN

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+0
10:12AM on 05/21/2015
Looks like Star Wars missed a bullet. After the mess that is Torrrowland, it seems Bird should keep his animation gig.
Looks like Star Wars missed a bullet. After the mess that is Torrrowland, it seems Bird should keep his animation gig.
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1:00PM on 05/21/2015
looks like you missed the best mission impossible film.
looks like you missed the best mission impossible film.
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3:38AM on 05/21/2015

They're not going to stop making

Star Wars movies. They'll rumble along as long as we pay money. Eventually the stars will align, and he'll make one.
Star Wars movies. They'll rumble along as long as we pay money. Eventually the stars will align, and he'll make one.
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3:35AM on 05/21/2015

They're not going to stop making

Star Wars movies. They'll rumble along as long as we pay money. Eventually the stars will align, and he'll make one.
Star Wars movies. They'll rumble along as long as we pay money. Eventually the stars will align, and he'll make one.
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2:35AM on 05/21/2015
Back in Oct 2012 when the announcement was made that Episode VII was going to happen, Bird was w/o hesitation my second choice right behind Abrams, (I'm honestly still in a bit of shock that Abrams really is doing it). What makes directors like Bird and Abrams so special is their ability to work with a major studio and bring true passion and care to their work. Good for Bird for staying w/a project he believes in. Not all directors are artists, but these two really know the art of film.
Back in Oct 2012 when the announcement was made that Episode VII was going to happen, Bird was w/o hesitation my second choice right behind Abrams, (I'm honestly still in a bit of shock that Abrams really is doing it). What makes directors like Bird and Abrams so special is their ability to work with a major studio and bring true passion and care to their work. Good for Bird for staying w/a project he believes in. Not all directors are artists, but these two really know the art of film.
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1:34AM on 05/21/2015

Stick to what appeals to you, not for glory.

Excellent choices. I respect when someone like this sets priorities and sticks to them like that. His decisions seem logical.
Excellent choices. I respect when someone like this sets priorities and sticks to them like that. His decisions seem logical.
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+1
11:35PM on 05/20/2015

Rian Johnson is doing Episode 8...

but Episode 9 is still up for grabs. ;)
but Episode 9 is still up for grabs. ;)
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10:20PM on 05/20/2015
I hope he gets a chance to direct one of the sequels or spin offs down the line in the future. And if not that, then hopefully a comic book film.
I hope he gets a chance to direct one of the sequels or spin offs down the line in the future. And if not that, then hopefully a comic book film.
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10:33PM on 05/20/2015
A Comic Book film? Are you serious? The Incredibles and a potential sequel aren't enough? I'm sure it would be cool, but it would seem rather redundant. It would be like saying you want him to see him direct a Bond film, even though we saw his spy-film style with Mission Impossible. I hope he has more original ideas for the future.
A Comic Book film? Are you serious? The Incredibles and a potential sequel aren't enough? I'm sure it would be cool, but it would seem rather redundant. It would be like saying you want him to see him direct a Bond film, even though we saw his spy-film style with Mission Impossible. I hope he has more original ideas for the future.
3:38AM on 05/21/2015
Marvel films are desirable as being money in the bank. So you can afford to go do riskier stuff.
Marvel films are desirable as being money in the bank. So you can afford to go do riskier stuff.
10:12PM on 05/20/2015
You have to respect Bird. He took a chance on something unique.
You have to respect Bird. He took a chance on something unique.
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10:49PM on 05/20/2015
Plus he stayed committed even when he got an offer to do something amazing.
Plus he stayed committed even when he got an offer to do something amazing.
1:32AM on 05/21/2015
Agreed. Good for him to stick to his guns and not sell out for the vision that he wanted (even though the movie is getting meh reviews)
Agreed. Good for him to stick to his guns and not sell out for the vision that he wanted (even though the movie is getting meh reviews)
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